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Hi, I'm 19 years old, my husband is in the Military and is currently stationed in Germany, and I'm trying to get paperwork done so that I can go to be with him. We've been married for 4 and a half months, and those 4 months he's been in Germany. We've been together for almost 4 years, though. We've almost always been on the same page with what we believe is right and wrong, even though he is not religious. Nor am I, I just grew up in a heavily Christian family, and a lot of those rules, morals, and actions have rubbed off on me, and he used to even compliment me on how I had such great morals rather than the other girls in high school, "blah blah, it's a big reason why it drew me to you." He told me he didn't agree with alcohol being a main "go-to" for fun, but we both agreed that wine during a nice dinner was perfectly fine. He always disliked how the girls in school dressed like strippers and acted like "skanks". But since he's joined the Military, things have seemed to do a 180. He promised me he wouldn't drink until I got there, so we could share wine and whatever on our first night at our first home, and because I was just afraid of him drinking without me, being with his questionable friends. But he broke that promise on his 21st birthday while over there, and didn't tell me until later because he was feeling guilty. Ofcourse I was upset, not because he drank, but more because he promised me (and we take our promises very seriously, as childish as it sounds) he wouldn't. He was sorry, and I wasn't angry but more dissapointed, but I left it alone, and moved on.

NOW, he seems to agree that drinking vodka/beer/etc. and whatnot now and then is fine, he wants to go out with his friend who supposedly doesn't drink a lot and hang out at bars. And I'm still not over there, he thinks I'm treating him like a child because I'm afraid for him. My family has had a lot of drunks who says the same exact things as he says, like "Oh I'm not drinking to get drunk" and "I don't want to get drunk, I just want to relax". Relaxing is 100% fine, I just really dislike him being at a bar, because what if he gives in to the pressure from his friends? What if his friends then talk him into things he wouldn't normally do? (at this point I don't really know what is normal for him) He used to not care about drinking, he made out to me that it was useless. Was he just pretending so that I would think he was even better a person? I cannot explain beyond, "I just don't feel right about it, and I have had a lot of bad things happen to family members because of drinking, and I am just scared for you." And me just being afraid for him is not enough, He believes that he should be able to do anything that he pleases, he's not a child anymore. I get that he is in a very stressful situation being over seas and away from his family, but I just worry. And I have a horrible feeling in my chest about it. Some times I wonder what I would do if he does come in drunk one night? I'd be so afraid, and hurt because he said he's never get drunk. And I don't want it to turn into something bigger than him, and something he goes to when ever he is upset. I believe that could become very unhealthy.

Also, today, just a few moments ago... Some how we got onto the subject of strip bars. He told me something about them, some sort of thing about how in Europe they trade real money for some other money that then the strippers can take and trade in again for real money? Something along the lines of that and I asked him where he learned that. He never told me how he learned it, he just went on to plead that he never goes to them. And then I asked what his friends' wives thought about them going to clubs like that, he told me that they were okay with it. In a way that basically said "You should be too." "They would rather go themselves too, just to have fun." In my opinion, how is it fun to watch your husband watch in lust after an erotic dancer? Then he goes on to say its classy! That some erotic dancers are classy. Now, with my religious background, and my morals, and what he used to be, this really upset me. Went on to say it was an artform (I think I like to deal in the art world) so I agreed that Burlesque when done in a classy, non self degrading way, MAY be somewhat of an artform. But it just really bothers me that he used to be totally against these kinds of things. He then said I'm jealous, and I said that I definitely would be jealous if he was looking at other half naked women in lust, and then he went on to say that he wouldn't he'd be looking at me... Then why the hell would you be there in the first place when we could just go home and let me put on a show for you there? Same thing with the other wives and husbands? I just sometimes think people have no respect for themselves anymore. Went on to tell me that women want so much freedom, why can't they do what they want with their bodies? And the second I brought up abortion it was a totally different thing. "no that's killing." But it is her body? But he then agrees that prostitutes should be able to walk the roads freely, because it is their bodies. I don't get him anymore? He says he doesn't see anything wrong with prostitutes and strippers. I don't really have any proof that their is something wrong with them, besides the spreading of diseases, my gut telling me that there is something wrong with them and its just wrong, and my religious parents telling me that the body is a sacred place for a man and wife to share abundantly amongst themselves only. He then storms offline (because again, he's overseas and that's our only way of communication) and hasn't been back on, and honestly, I doubt it would matter, there is no reasoning with him... It always comes down to me saying you are right, I am wrong. And there are many other things that are going on, but these are things that has really upset me.

Who did I marry? I knew that change would come after marriage, but this soon? And so abruptly?

What should I do?
Do you think I am wrong, too?
 

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It's hard to know for certain exactly what you believe when you are ~20 years old. Not that I think your husband is excused by that. It sounds like he did make some promises to you that he then broke. That's definitely not a good foundation for a marriage. Some of the moral issues you describe are certainly a matter of opinion in the eyes of many, but it sounds like you married him with the presumption that you and he had similar moral views. If you two can't talk it out, maybe consider counseling once he gets back. That's my two cents.
 

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Hello,

It is quite common for couples to have challenges stemming from perceived differences in values.

Before I begin let me preface this with the fact that the advice offered below is based on generalizations and as such may not fully apply to you. Take from it what you need.

In your case the first step towards improving your situation is attempting to understand both your and your husband's behavior.

Regarding his decisions to go to bars and drink. It is quite likely that a factor in these decisions is social pressure. If he is in the army the group of males he hangs out with can exert social pressure towards certain behaviors. Depending on the person such pressure may sway their behavior.

Words such as "Come drink with us, what are you kitty wiped? Be a man! " can be very powerful.

There are steps that can be taken from both sides to improve the situation but we have access only to you and as such I will discuss steps that you can take.

Regarding your reaction to his decisions please keep in mind that it is likely that up to 80% of the negative feelings you have are from your past experience with alcoholism and are not directly related to him. In a sense you are worried because the fear of it has been instilled in you from a young age by exposure.

With such challenges calm and cooperative communication is necessary. Placing blame leads naturally to defensive arguments. Even though he may be willing to admit and discuss social pressure, if you approach him and come across as placing blame he naturally will justify his behavior using logic and lash out and stonewall.

I strongly suggest you address the way you communicate with him on the matter. The ideal attitude is calm, cerebral and cooperative. Please keep in mind that his behavior may not be that risky since you have a bias due to past exposure.


 

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...please keep in mind that it is highly likely that up to 80% of the negative feelings you have are from your past experience with alcoholism and are not directly related to him.
Oh really? Do you have any evidence to back this up?

Otherwise, I think your suggestion to communicate more on the matter completely reasonable.
 

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Hi Ishkur,

I'm really sorry you're dealing with some tough issues in your marriage right now. I can imagine that it's hard to try to effectively communicate with your husband when he is so far away... especially being newlyweds! Have you heard of Focus on the Family? I've worked with this organization, and they offer a great deal of guidance and resources for newlyweds. You might want to check out a Q&A from their site here. Also, the book, The First Five Years of Marriage might be helpful for you guys.

I really hope things start to improve for you and your husband. God bless you!
 
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